While overcoming personal obstacles often requires concentrated effort, in some cases, you may find that attempting to overcome one problem leads you to grapple with a larger one looming underneath it. Sometimes addressing addiction can mean unraveling the knot of self-preservation that has formed around a traumatic experience. To fully overcome destructive habits, you may want to consider undergoing dedicated therapy to tackle the roots of your problems. By working on your issues at the source, you give yourself the chance to fully heal over time.
How Can Trauma Lead to Addiction?
Research has established significant connections between trauma and substance use disorders like abuse and dependency. Experiencing traumatic events, especially in childhood, is linked to the development of substance dependency and other destructive conditions. Substance use has also been heavily tied to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A 2010 study of highly traumatized individuals showed substantially elevated rates of lifelong dependency on substances including alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and opiates compared to the national average. Levels of substance abuse and dependency correlated directly to levels of trauma endured. These findings indicate that understanding the comorbid relationship between trauma and substance use disorders is key to effective treatment.
It’s critical to note that many ongoing challenges and patterns of destructive behaviors are believed to have roots in childhood. While some people can point to specific memories that form the basis of their trauma, many others might not even fully remember the extent of their negative experiences, leaving them unable to address them. If not rectified, the pain and confusion can persist under the surface indefinitely, driving an otherwise healthy person towards dangerous actions like substance abuse and addiction time and again.
Why It’s Important to Address Trauma When Recovering From Addiction
If your addiction is the product of internalized trauma, it may be much more difficult to overcome using methods that don’t include that trauma as a factor. While certain aspects of treatment, like medication, can still prove effective, more psychological approaches may find you hitting a subconscious wall. The healthiest thing you can do is to address your problems at the source.
If you overcome addiction without addressing your trauma, the same imbalance may lead you to relapse, develop another addiction, form new destructive behaviors, or seek an outlet in other ways. Although addiction is a complex condition, it can develop as a symptom of deeper-seated issues. Addressing addiction and not trauma is simply addressing the symptom and not the cause.
Seeing Your Trauma for What It Is
Part of the challenge of dealing with internalized trauma is that our minds tend to form protective barriers around traumatic events. If we spent every day being acutely aware of intensely difficult memories like abuse, neglect, addiction, violence, or mental illness, we would likely be unable to approximate healthy mental and emotional functioning. Factors like challenging situations, negative interactions, or depressive episodes can cause parts of our trauma to emerge. We may be inclined to write off emotional outbursts simply as the result of a bad day or an external circumstance, absolving us of the painful work of examining our trauma and the way it affects us. Even if we are logically aware of our past traumatic experiences, we may seek to minimize the impact they have on our lives.
The submerged nature of trauma makes it especially important to seek out a trustworthy expert when working towards healing. You may have an idea of the areas of your life that are affected by trauma, and the right professional can help you explore those areas until you discover the psychological structures that have formed in response to your experiences. A crucial part of getting help is gaining the insight of a qualified second party who can help you identify which behaviors and emotional states are part of the problem.
Productively Processing Trauma
Once you’ve connected with a recovery professional or counselor with relevant experience for your circumstances, you’ll be able to begin working through your trauma. Like recovery itself, addressing your past can be a lifelong process. While it might not be readily apparent how quickly you can close the book on these deep-rooted issues, you have the chance to work towards your mental health goals every day and achieve changes over time.
There are numerous forms of therapeutic modalities and treatments used to manage trauma, PTSD, and related conditions. Depending on your case and the treatment center of your choosing, you might consider solutions like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Narrative Exposure Therapy, or a bevy of other options. Healing trauma is an intensely personal process. Consult with your treatment professionals about how to go about achieving lasting health and happiness.
Addiction’s roots tend to run deep. When you’re ready to find a solution to your problems and overcome the cycle of destructive behavior, make sure you take the steps necessary to make changes at the deepest level. While tackling your trauma won’t always be easy, you can create a new path to healing and acceptance with the proper support. Part of finding that path is to place yourself in the right environment. At Rancho Milagro in Temecula Valley, California, we’ve built a safe and resource-rich haven designed to facilitate the complete inner transformation you need to overcome addiction. From world-class medical treatment to our singular setting, we are fully equipped to help you create a stable and successful life. Recovery is your chance to take control of your past and build the future you want. Don’t let trauma direct your actions any longer. Call us at (951) 526-4582 to learn more.